Thursday 4 July 2024

Sonos Roam

Cutting edge as I ever plan to be, a review of the first Sonos Roam which came out years ago, and not version two which, as it turns out, does fix one of my main bugbears with their first attempt.

Bought just over a year ago, the excuse was needing a Bluetooth speaker for an upcoming holiday – as such I used it twice. It has Alexa and (after a recent update) Google voice assistants. It fits in nicely (very nicely) if you have other Sonos speakers.

It has a multi-function button for switching on/off and switching between WiFi or Bluetooth, and appears to operate based on how long you press that button down. Probably I should have read the manual but from what I’ve seen, even the people who have read the manual think it’s a terrible design, awful, and the main improvement between this version and its successor.

You want to leave that button alone.

It would periodically (every week) disconnect from the WiFi, forcing a reboot – which given the “one” button problem (did I mention how bad that was?) is a trial. You really want to leave that button alone. It felt like a bad purchase, I can’t abide tech. not working, not knowing if it’s going to work the next time you try to use it. The problem in this case appeared to be an issue the Roam has with mesh networks, certainly my mesh network. The solution was to stop the Roam from roaming, tie it to one point, as it were. I’m not sure that all mesh networks give you this feature.

Another issue on returning from a recent holiday (where I didn’t use the speaker once!) was the difficulty reconnecting to my Sonos system so that I could group speakers for playback. In this case it turned out the system software had been updated for my other speakers whilst I was away. I’d blame that one on Sonos in general rather than the speaker itself. They do seem to drop the ball from time to time.

All-in-all, not a purchase I’d recommend. Maybe a somewhat generous three out of five. Should I be giving ratings? I’ll have to think on that.


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